Where have all our confessions gone...

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Under the prior post, "Man interrupts ordination of Libby Lane...," a brother writes:

It is most unfortunate, but we Evangelicals have been among the biggest culprits in facilitating women's ordination. There are many reasons for Evangelicalism going soft on this issue, but among them is the departure away from the historical confessions, i.e. Savoy Declaration, Thirty-Nine Articles, Westminster, Heidelberg, etc. It seems that adhering to an historical standard such as the confessions is anathema to many Evangelicals.

I respond:

Dear Brother Williams,

Rightly you point out that we Evangelicals have been culprits in facilitating women's ordination, and in your assigning a good portion of the blame to our abandonment of our confessions. In this regard, though, we'd do well to remember that the confessions say almost nothing against women's ordination, specifically, or men's abdication and women's rebellion, generally—just as they say little to nothing about our sterilizing our marriage beds, our offering our children to Molech through abortion, or sodomite marriage.

Confessions are the way our fathers in the faith cornered the enemies of true religion in past centuries, forcing them to...

use the language of the day according to the teaching of Scripture on this and that area of doctrine under attack in their own generation, and thus none of them wrote even a part of their confessions to oppose the sterile marriage bed, abortion, or feminism. Those are our battles today and we must write those confessions in our own time. The only place the Westminster Standards address sexuality is the section on lawful oaths where Numbers 30 is cited in the Scripture proofs, and those proofs aren't binding.

It is our job not only to require men to submit to and honor the Godly work of past centuries of church fathers in declaring to us the teaching of Scripture concerning their battles, but to further their work by writing our own confessions at the gaps in the wall ever so clear in our own generations. Those who see the confessions as the end of all declaration of orthodoxy needed before the Lord's return in power and glory are most of the problem and, I think, the reason the confessions are no longer honored. When a confessional authority can't be cited at the gaps in the wall as part of the defense of our Mother in our own generation, it's almost inevitable that confession will be seen as old and in the way, lacking in authority and power.

This is what confessionalism has largely become in these United States: dead orthodoxy rehearsing and building exhibits and memorials to past fathers' faithfulness. And so even the good work those past fathers did with their confessions defending the doctrine of Scripture at the places of their own gaps in the wall aren't honored as evidenced by men like the Theopolis Institute PCA pastors who claim to be Westminster confessional as they work for rapprochement with Rome. Our confessions are clear on that point, but not wanting to defend the gaps in the wall of our own time, the enemy is emboldened to renew his attack upon the points in the wall seemingly still firm from half a millennium ago, and he succeeds.

What is needed is to write a new confession or an amendment to our past confessions and limit the new confession to anthropology where the twenty and twenty-first centuries have gone whole-hog into heresy—including the church.


Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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